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Tesla airbags didn't inflate when a family's Model 3 crashed into a guardrail, and claim the company isn't cooperating with the investigation, victims' lawyer says (TSLA)

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 8:35pm  |  Clusterstock

  • A Tesla Model 3's airbags didn't inflate in a devastating highway accident earlier this year, the victims' attorney said.
  • The family's lawyer said he sent a routine "preservation letter" to the company but hasn't heard back in the month since. 
  • "Tesla has the ability to monitor their vehicles out on the roadway. Who owns that data? Is it our client? Is it Tesla?" the attorney said. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When a Tesla Model 3 carrying Kristian Henderson and her family slammed into a guardrail on the Interstate 95 median in suburban Maryland this summer, the vehicle's side airbags didn't deploy, according to the victims' attorney.

The George Washington University professor was rendered comatose by the impact, causing her serious brain damage, while her son in the back seat also suffered severe injuries, their lawyer, Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein, said.

Many of those injuries could have been prevented if the airbag had functioned as designed, Leopold said, alleging that Tesla hasn't made the investigation any easier. The attorney sent a routine preservation letter to Tesla in August, but he said the company has yet to get back to him. The family is considering filing a lawsuit if the electric-car maker doesn't respond, he said. 

"This case will be, to my knowledge, the first case like this against Tesla," Leopold said in an interview. "They certainly have promoted their expertise in the IT area, and I'll be curious from a safety perspective how strong they are and how their development in that area has been."

"These are routine cases for Ford, General Motors, and others," he said. 

A Tesla representative said the company did, in fact, respond and was waiting for more information from the victim's lawyer. 

Leopold also pointed to documents revealed last month by PlainSite that showed that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration had warned Tesla to tone down its language with regard to safety. The agency sent a cease-and-desist letter in October after CEO Elon Musk said there was "no safer car in the world" than a Tesla, according to the documents. 

"The fact that they self-promote that it's safe when the government told them they can't do that, first-blush indication is that on this vehicle, the safety mechanisms failed," Leopold said. 

A Tesla representative declined to comment on the record for this story but said airbags weren't necessarily designed to fire in all circumstances, depending on the crash, according to NHTSA. The representative also pointed to Tesla's five-star crash rating and a blog post saying that the company's vehicles were "engineered to be the safest cars in the world."

Leopold said that marketing effort was exactly why getting ahold of the crash data should be easy. 

"Tesla has the ability to monitor their vehicles out on the roadway. Unlike Ford or General Motors or Toyota, Tesla seems to have that ability. Who owns that data? Is it our client? Is it Tesla? Certainly we're going to seek it, and they should voluntarily provide it to us," he said.

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The definitive story of how a controversial Florida businessman blew up MoviePass and burned hundreds of millions

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 5:47pm  |  Clusterstock

  • A four-month investigation by Business Insider chronicles the rise and fall of the movie-ticket-subscription startup MoviePass.
  • We tell the story of cofounder Stacy Spikes, who sought to shake up the tired movie-theater business by starting a subscription service.
  • Enter Florida businessman Ted Farnsworth, who injected much-needed cash into the company and introduced the risky idea of lowering the monthly subscription price to an impossibly low $9.95 a month.
  • The price change helped MoviePass become a sensation, but it also led to the ousting of Spikes — and the use of questionable tactics to keep the company afloat.
  • This story was published on August 6. Subsequently, MoviePass' parent company announced the service would shut down on September 14.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the sun set on June 14, 2018, John Travolta stood outside Manhattan's SVA Theatre. He'd arrived for the premiere of "Gotti," a biopic of infamous Mafia kingpin John Gotti in which Travolta played the starring role.

Greeting Travolta on the red carpet were Ted Farnsworth and Mitch Lowe, two businessmen who'd made the release possible after they'd taken an equity stake in the film months earlier.

But if Travolta knew who they were, his blank expression in the photos he took with them didn't show it. In fact, if the actor knew more about them, he'd likely have wondered why they were grinning ear to ear.

Farnsworth was the CEO of Helios & Matheson Analytics, the parent company of MoviePass, the buzzy movie-ticket-subscription service with ambitions of becoming the next Netflix. Lowe was the CEO of MoviePass. And "Gotti" represented their next big move: moviemaking.

But MoviePass was burning through millions of dollars to keep up with subscriber demand. Lowe and Farnsworth, meanwhile, were blocking subscribers out of their accounts and misleading investors, according to multiple former employees — desperate measures designed to keep the company alive.

There was one conspicuous absence at the premiere: Stacy Spikes, the entrepreneur who founded MoviePass in 2011.

This spring when I met with Spikes, 51, he still had the slim figure, thin-framed glasses, and big smile he had back when he was hustling to put MoviePass on the map. His dream: a service that allowed you to see everything from summer blockbusters to art-house fare at any time for a monthly fee.

For a while, amid numerous fits and starts and funding crises, it worked. Then, in January 2018, just as MoviePass added its millionth subscriber, Farnsworth and Lowe fired him.

Surprisingly, Spikes wasn't bitter. "How we got there was messy, but innovation is always messy," he said.

Now, 18 months after Spikes' departure, the once high-flying company is practically dead after losing millions of subscribers in less than two years. Since July 4, MoviePass has been shut down to resolve "technical problems."

Secrecy hangs over what remains of MoviePass, a company that misled both subscribers and investors, and, according to multiple former employees, made many employees extremely uncomfortable. Hundreds of pages of SEC documents show, in clinical detail, the gobs of money the company spent trying to keep the lights on, and just how little it was generating.

Through interviews with over a dozen sources who worked at the company or had a close association with it — many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nondisclosure agreements they signed — I learned how an idealistic founder's desperate search for cash to keep his company alive led to its swift downfall.

Aggressive marketing and questionable practices

Stacy Spikes always loved movies. As a high-school kid growing up in Houston, Texas, he worked at a video store. In his 20s, he helped market film soundtracks at Sony. By 1994 he was vice president of marketing at Miramax. In 1997 he founded the Urbanworld Film Festival, which featured the work of diverse filmmakers, including future stars like Ava DuVernay and Malcolm D. Lee.

The festival's success got Spikes and executives with Loews Cineplex, one of the big movie chains at the time, thinking. "You could see Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, Hulu — this whole subscription wave was on the horizon," Spikes said. "So it was, like, why not make a subscription for moviegoing?"

MoviePass began with Spikes, a team of five scrappy 20-something developers, and a phone.

In 2005, they created an SMS-based prototype for purchasing tickets, but they couldn't get a major chain to give it a try. Things seemed to turn around after Spikes brought on Hamet Watt as a cofounder. Together they raised a combined $1 million from AOL and True Ventures, a San Francisco venture-capital firm.

But when a launch on July 4, 2011, was scrapped because of lack of interest from theaters, Spikes had to start over.

First Spikes and his team had to find a way around the big chains. To do that they devised a prepaid credit card. Using the app, subscribers would find a theater, select a movie and screening time, then go to the kiosk and order the ticket using the prepaid card. Essentially, the company paid back the theaters the full ticket price for the movies that its subscribers were seeing.

The MoviePass team also still needed to perfect its tech to match the user with the right theaters. So the developers built a geo-location system from scratch, plugging in the longitude and latitude of the front door of every movie theater in America.

The 90-day effort nearly bankrupted the company. But in February 2011, an impressed True Ventures greenlighted $1.5 million in funding. Subscription numbers jumped from 5,000 in 2012 to 10,000 by 2015. But even then, the company continued to sputter after a deal with AMC fell through in 2016.

Desperate for cash, MoviePass held a series of meetings in New York in the summer of 2017 with prospective investors. Ted Farnsworth attended one of the meetings.

A tad under 6 feet tall, Farnsworth resembles an economics professor more than a cutting-edge entrepreneur. He's balding, wears stylish thick-rimmed glasses, and often dresses in business-casual attire with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows.

"He comes off as a bumbling, lovable, sort of optimistic guy," one former MoviePass employee said. "He wants to be your best friend. He's always on."

Another former staffer put it differently: "The first conversation I had with Ted I left thinking, 'This guy is a con artist.'"

Read more: Bitter enemies MoviePass and AMC once worked together. Here's a look inside the relationship's epic collapse.

Over the past three decades, Farnsworth has registered more than 50 companies in Florida, including a psychic hotline started in 1998. Fronted by La Toya Jackson, the company's name, the "Psychic Discovery Network," appeared in a notice from the Federal Communications Commission of pay-per-call services that had received more than 50 complaints.

Numerous companies that went public while Farnsworth was at the helm were valued at less than $1 a share within three years. Only four of his companies remain in operation today. Farnsworth himself has been cited 11 times for failing to pay federal income taxes on time.

Yet Farnsworth never seemed to have a problem failing up. In 2017, he became the CEO of data company Helios & Matheson Analytics. According to its website, the company specializes in "insights into social phenomena." But, like Farnsworth, it too had a troubled past. In 2016, its India-based former parent company was accused of defrauding thousands of investors.

Farnsworth's pitch to MoviePass: $25 million for 51% of the company, two seats on the five-member board, and a promise to drop the monthly subscription price, temporarily, from $50 to $9.95, with the goal of hitting 100,000 subscribers. If all went well, the next step would be taking MoviePass public.

But Farnsworth's plan worried Spikes; to him, $10 a month was too low. At that price MoviePass would start losing money when a subscriber used the service more than once a month.

Why Farnsworth settled on $10 is unclear. Several people told me he wanted a price that would grab headlines. Some simple arithmetic should have dissuaded him.

In the US, the average price for a movie ticket is about $9; if a customer ordered a ticket every day for a month (the maximum the MoviePass plan allowed), it would cost MoviePass about $270, of which the subscriber's fee would cover just $10.

But in July 2017, the MoviePass board agreed to the deal. And on August 15, the price drop went into effect. Thanks to word-of-mouth buzz and press attention, within two days subscriptions jumped from about 20,000 to 100,000. MoviePass had transformed from a scrappy startup trying to keep the lights on to a disrupter in the making.

Farnsworth and Lowe, who came on as MoviePass' CEO in 2016, became the faces of the company. They often made key decisions inside Helios & Matheson's Empire State Building office without Spikes, who by then had become chief operating officer. The staff ballooned, quadrupling from 10 to 40 by the end of 2017.

To celebrate, Farnsworth hosted a company event in November at his midtown apartment. He gave an impassioned speech with one clear message, according to those in attendance: They were part of something big.

But Spikes saw a looming disaster.

The company was overwhelmed by its overnight success and couldn't keep up with demand. A quarter-million new subscribers were signing up every month, and MoviePass customer-service lines were flooded with complaints from people who had been waiting weeks for their cards. MoviePass had lowballed the number of cards it would need after the price drop. It got to a point where the vendor making the MoviePass cards didn't have enough plastic and had to call on its competitors to fulfill all the card orders.

"We all knew we were selling something we couldn't deliver on," one former staffer said.

Spikes couldn't stay quiet. He'd often beg Lowe in private to convince Farnsworth that the $10 plan would doom them.

To no one's surprise, in late December, Spikes and cofounder Watt were voted off the board. Helios was now in full control of MoviePass.

On January 9, 2018, Spikes received an email from Lowe. It explained that MoviePass, the company he'd built from scratch, no longer needed his services.

"An email," a former staffer said. "All those years getting the company off the ground, and that's how he's treated?"

The same day MoviePass reached 1 million subscribers, a milestone it hit faster than Netflix and Hulu. A press release to mark the occasion included a picture of a smiling Farnsworth and Lowe, standing before the AMC marquee in New York's Times Square, holding MoviePass cards — a dig at the biggest movie chain in the world, which had previously tried and failed to ban the service from its theaters.

As one source close to the company put it, "From then on, it became the Mitch and Ted show."

The company falls into 'substantial doubt'

On the night of April 14, 2018, in Palm Springs, California, Farnsworth sat in his hotel room, banging out a furious email. It was addressed to MoviePass staffers who had come to the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to work a promotional event the company would host with iHeartRadio.

Already, the company had made an impression on the festival. A MoviePass banner flew high above the festivities. Scantily clad Instagram influencers posted pictures with MoviePass swag. Former basketball star and amateur diplomat Dennis Rodman had shown up in a helicopter bearing the company's logo with members of Jerry Media, an online advertising company known best for its @f--kjerry Instagram account and for running social media for the doomed Fyre Festival. Now, it counted MoviePass among its clients.

Flying High

Here is a list of the largest banks in the United States by assets (JPM, BAC, C, WFC, GS, MS, USB, PNC, TD, COF)

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 5:32pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Business Insider Intelligence is launching its brand new Banking coverage in early September.
  • To obtain a free preview of our Banking Briefing, please click here.

The Federal Reserve has rolled out a list of top US banks by assets, and we've broken down exactly how these banking giants manage to stay ahead of the competition. For decades banks have been merging, partnering, and expanding — so much so that the top four banks now account for 50% of all US banking assets.

Here are the top 10 banks in the US by assets, with key insights as to how they got there, where they plan to go in the future, and how smaller banks can compete in the industry. 

1. JPMorgan Chase - $2.74 Trillion

By targeting digitally-savvy consumers and introducing artificial intelligence to its offerings, JPMorgan Chase has been able to outperform its competitors. JPMorgan is playing the long-game by acquiring millennials through digital channels — and hopes to convert them to higher-value customers later on.

Additionally, JPMorgan is investing heavily in banking technology, and boasts the biggest tech budget of all banks in 2019 with $11.4 billion. A key focus of these funds is identifying use cases to implement artificial intelligence, such as enabling investment banking clients to access analyst reports and stock information through voice assistants.

2. Bank of America - $2.38 Trillion

Bank of America has been able to cut costs and appeal to young users by adapting strategies for the digital age. The bank's digitized branches – which allow customers to access contactless ATMs and connect with call centers via video-conference technology – experienced half the traffic of nearby branches only five months after launching in 2017. 

Bank of America's digital-only services Zelle and Erica have also re-defined what the company offers its retail banking customers. Zelle allows users to digitally send real-time payments to friends and family, and by integrating this feature into its mobile app, Bank of America has opened the door for increased consumer engagement.

Bank of America has also seen success with its voice-enabled assistant, Erica, which provides customers the ability to conduct peer-to-peer payments as well as bill payments. Since officially launching in 2017, Erica has surpassed a massive 7 million users per year.

3. Citigroup - $1.96 Trillion

For three years in a row, Citibank has been named the "Best Bank for High-Net-Worth Families" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. For customers that maintain $200,000 in deposit, retirement, and investment accounts, the bank grants them access to its Citigold Package. 

Business Insider Intelligence's Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study also shows that Citi took the top spot for mobile banking features, as rated by consumers. Citi saw a massive increase in digital banking users in 2019 – up 11.3% year-over-year – and its mobile users grew twice as fast at 22.4% YoY. This growth, combined with the company's electronic client statements surging to 50%, demonstrates that Citi has secured its spot as one of the best banks in US.

4. Wells Fargo & Co. - $1.89 Trillion

Wells Fargo is following the lead of top competitors by targeting millennials through mobile banking services. Pay with Wells Fargo is a mobile service where users can access their most used payment features before signing into the app. Additionally, Wells Fargo's app Greenhouse helps customers simplify their bills and track spending. 

Joining the contactless payment market has also bolstered Wells Fargo's position as a leading bank. With 78% of the top 100 US merchants accepting contactless transactions, providing contactless credit and debit cards helps attract users who prefer digital banking methods — and according to Business Insider Intelligence, 44% of US consumers prefer contactless payments.

5. Goldman Sachs -  $925 Billion

Since launching Marcus, an online bank that offers customers fixed-rate, fee-free unsecured loans and high-yield savings accounts, Goldman Sachs has become one of the largest banks in the US. The banking giant has made several acquisitions for Marcus, including personal finance management app Clarity Money.

Clarity Money was an early step Goldman took to breaking into the digital-only banking industry, and allows users to open a Marcus savings account directly through their mobile device.

The firm also partnered with Apple to develop their co-brand Apple Card – giving users who have an associated iPhone access to rewards, money management features, and the ability to choose either a digital or physical card.

Acquiring and investing in startups and other businesses, combined with the decision to explore new ways to integrate technology with existing banking services, has allowed Goldman Sachs to become one of the largest banks in the US.

6. Morgan Stanley -  $875 Billion

After acquiring Solium Capital, a global provider of Software-as-a-Service for stock administration, financial reporting, and compliance, Morgan Stanley gained access to new technology and millennial employees who propelled the company into the digital banking market. 

By 2030, it is projected that millenials in North America will control $20 trillion of global assets, and Morgan Stanley is looking at Solium's young clients as its future affluent customers. 

Additionally, Morgan Stanley partnered with Box,a cloud content management service, to launch a "Digital Vault," an encrypted, cloud-based platform that allows Morgan Stanley's wealth management clients to easily share financial documents. The firm's wealth management business already contributes 44% of its revenue, and the "Digital Vault" is expected to accelerate this segment even further. 

7. U.S. Bancorp -  $475 Billion

U.S. Bancorp, the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, earned a spot on the list of top US banks due to its commitment to competing with tech giants making their way into the banking industry.  

With Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google all announcing their desire to launch banking services, U.S. Bancorp decided to improve its own technology. According to Business Insider Intelligence, Terry Dolan –chief financial officer of U.S. Bancorp – said that the bank plans to partner with fintechs inorder to maintain competitive banking technology. 

8. PNC Financial Services -  $392 Billion

PNC Bank is known as a top bank in the US because it offers specialized perks and services to customers while developing original products. In 2017 PNC began offering mobile payment options to corporate clients who hold Visa commercial cards — allowing them to leverage popular mobile wallets like Apple Pay.

Additionally, in 2019 PNC piloted credit cards with card verification values that periodically refresh, in the hopes of combating fraud. Fraudsters are able to guess three-digit CVV codes relatively easily due to the limited number of permutations; but periodically changing CVVs makes stolen data less valuable. 

9. TD Bank -  $384 Billion

In addition to having extensive influence abroad, TD Bank has become one of the largest banks in the US due to its integration of artificial intelligence and utilization of digital technology. 

TD Bank partnered with to launch Clari, an AI-powered chatbot, in Canada. Clari answers customers' questions via text message and notifies them when credit card payments are due or how much they spent at a certain store. Chatbots cut down on call volume, and Clari's success in Canada will likely influence TD Bank to develop a chatbot for its US branches. 

In another partnership, TD Bank teamed up with fintech provider Amount to leverage its digital lending technology, which comes with a suite of tools including fraud detection and account verification. 

10. Capital One -  $373 Billion

Despite its recent data breach, Capital One still managed to make the list of top US banks, likely due to its ongoing commitment to digital transformation.

Capital One increased its technology staff from 2,500 in 2011 to 9,000 in 2019, launched Eno – its AI-powered chatbot, similar to Bank of America's Erica – and is in the midst of a multi-year migration of its back-end software development tools to the cloud

Capital One also acquired fintech United Income in 2019, a digital platform that offers wealth management services for people moving into retirement. The fintech combines both technological capabilities with human facets, like providing access to a team of wealth managers — making it attractive for consumers who still desire human interaction. 

How can small banks compete?

Breaking into the digital banking industry is key for smaller firms looking to become major US banks. Neobanks – digital-only banks that aren't tied to traditional banking technology or expensive physical branches – are gaining steam in the US and secured a record $2.5 billion globally in funding for the first half of 2019.

Chime, a San Francisco-based neobank, took about four years to reach one million users in 2018. It has since acquired over 4 million users — quadrupling its user base in just one year. The competition put forward by digital-only banks will eventually force traditional banking leaders to revamp their banking practices and offerings due to the increasing digital demands of consumers.

Banking Industry Analysis

The banking industry is constantly undergoing change in the digital age, and it's important for its biggest decision-makers to stay informed of how the leading US banks continue to garner success.

That's why Business Insider Intelligence is launching Banking, our newest coverage area, to keep you up to date on strategies and tactics  of the largest banks in the US.

Click here to obtain an exclusive FREE preview of Banking!

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A founder of billion-dollar startup Hims publicly proclaimed he's made hundreds of millions and is well on his way to becoming a billionaire by his mid-30s — then deleted it

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 5:05pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Jack Abraham, the 33-year-old founder and managing partner of the venture-capital firm Atomic and a cofounder of the health startup Hims, wrote a response to a Quora question about net worth, saying he's a self-made entrepreneur who's on track to become a billionaire "by my mid to late 30s."
  • The response to the question has since been deleted from Quora. 
  • Abraham said in an emailed statement to Business Insider that he initially wrote the post to help explain the trade-offs that come with wealth.
  • "As a society we are obsessed with wealth as a cure for all ails but in my experience wealth does not drive happiness and in fact can negate it in non-intuitive ways," Abraham said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A serial entrepreneur who's sold a company to eBay and cofounded a men's healthcare startup says he's on track to be a billionaire.

Jack Abraham, the 33-year-old founder and managing partner of the venture-capital firm Atomic, wrote a response to a Quora question asking users about their net worths. He said he was a millionaire who's made a few hundred million dollars and is on track to be a billionaire "by my mid to late 30s." He has since deleted his post from Quora.

"For my age, in the 'self-made' category I am probably between 1 in 1M or 1 in 10M (top 100- 1,000 globally self made for my age, possibly among even fewer)," Abraham said in the since deleted post. "At the rate of growth of the value of the equity I have there is a good chance that I'll become a billionaire by my mid to late 30s."

The post went on to discuss the pitfalls that can come with financial success and why happiness does not always correlate with a higher net worth. 

Through Atomic, Abraham has backed and cofounded companies including the men's health startup Hims, which has raised $197 million to date, and the coliving company Bungalow. Before his work with Atomic, Abraham sold a startup to eBay for $75 million. Abraham references those investments in the post, saying he's made a few hundred million dollars by his early 30s. 

Read more: You Can Explain eBay's $50 Billion Turnaround With Just This One Crazy Story

Abraham said in an emailed statement to Business Insider that he initially wrote the post to help explain the trade-offs that come with wealth. 

"As a society we are obsessed with wealth as a cure for all ails but in my experience wealth does not drive happiness and in fact can negate it in non-intuitive ways," Abraham said. "I wrote the post to share my experience but it was intended for a small audience and to help anyone who might be considering trade offs of how they choose to live their lives."

Abraham decided to take down the post after it began going viral. 

"I took it down as its reach started growing, as I really prefer to keep a low profile and keep my head down, focused on building companies and solving meaningful problems that impact people's lives," Abraham said. 

Abraham's father was the CEO and cofounder of Comscore, and Abraham started working for him when he was in his teens, Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson previously reported. While studying at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, Abraham started the e-commerce firm Milo, which he later sold to eBay.

He now says he's started 14 companies, according to his profile on LinkedIn.

"For context on my background, my dad immigrated to the US to get his PhD at MIT without a dollar to his name and we grew up poor," Abraham told Business Insider in the email. "We climbed to the middle and upper middle class before my dad became an entrepreneur and 'made it'. I've seen life from all levels of wealth and believe I have a unique perspective on its pros and cons as a result."

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THE AI IN INSURANCE REPORT: How forward-thinking insurers are using AI to slash costs and boost customer satisfaction as disruption looms

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 5:02pm  |  Clusterstock

The insurance sector has fallen behind the curve of financial services innovation — and that's left hundreds of billions in potential cost savings on the table. 

The most valuable area in which insurers can innovate is the use of artificial intelligence (AI): It's estimated that AI can drive cost savings of $390 billion across insurers' front, middle, and back offices by 2030, according to a report by Autonomous NEXT seen by Business Insider Intelligence. The front office is the most lucrative area to target for AI-driven cost savings, with $168 billion up for grabs by 2030.

There are three main aspects of the front office that stand to benefit most from AI. First, Chatbots and automated questionnaires can help insurers make customer service more efficient and improve customer satisfaction. Second, AI can help insurers offer more personalized policies for their customers. Finally, by streamlining the claims management process, insurers can increase their efficiency. 

In the AI in Insurance Report, Business Insider Intelligence will examine AI solutions across key areas of the front office — customer service, personalization, and claims management — to illustrate how the technology can significantly enhance the customer experience and cut costs along the value chain. We will look at companies that have accomplished these goals to illustrate what insurers should focus on when implementing AI, and offer recommendations on how to ensure successful AI adoption.

The companies mentioned in this report are: IBM, Lemonade, Lloyd's of London, Next Insurance, Planck, PolicyPal, Root, Tractable, and Zurich Insurance Group.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The cost savings that insurers can capture from using AI in the front office will allow them to refocus capital and employees on more lucrative objectives, such as underwriting policies.
  • To ensure that AI in the front office is successful, insurers need to have a clear strategy for implementing the tech and use it as a solution for specific problems.
  • Insurers are still at different stages when it comes to implementing AI: a number of them need to find ways to appropriately build their strategies and enable transformation, while the others must identify how to move forward with their existing strategy.
  • Overall, incumbents should focus on a hybrid model between digital and human to ensure they're catering to all consumers.

 In full, the report:

  • Outlines the benefits of using AI in the insurance industry.
  • Explains the three main ways insurers can revamp their front office using the technology.
  • Highlights players that have successfully implemented AI solutions in their front office.
  • Discusses how insurers should move forward with AI and what routes are the most lucrative option for players of different sizes.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of AI in insurance.

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The history of WeWork’s meteoric valuation rise — and fall

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 4:42pm  |  Clusterstock

WeWork's public offering is off to a rocky start, and it hasn't even listed its shares yet.

Concerns around the coworking startup's governance, real estate holdings, succession plan, employee retention, and questionable patent purchases have spooked potential investors. WeWork has amended its SEC filings twice already to address several of those concerns, but it might not be enough.

According to a Reuters report, WeWork will target a $10 billion valuation for its IPO, drastically lower than the $47 billion valuation it last fetched in private markets. A $10 billion public valuation would be only slightly above the total amount of funding WeWork has taken in as a private company: about $8.39 billion since 2011, according to Pitchbook data.

Read More: WeWork's IPO filing will reportedly be revealed as soon as next week, giving us our best look yet at its business

It's a striking turn of events for WeWork, which has experienced a meteoric rise since its founding in 2010 by CEO Adam Neumann, his wife Rebekah Neumann, and Miguel McKelvey. The New York-based startup leases office space to other startups and has expanded to more than 100 cities in 29 countries — a turbo-charged expansion plan that has required WeWork to continually raise capital as it burns through billions of dollars. 

Until now, even the savviest investors, from venture capital firms to mutual funds to Japan's SoftBank, were eager to pump money into WeWork, driving up its stratospheric valuation. But in this case, what goes up appears to be coming down.

Here's the definitive history of WeWork's valuation ahead of its much anticipated public offering:

SEE ALSO: Automation is coming for venture capital, and one young VC firm is betting its homegrown tech gives it an edge over Sand Hill Road's slow-to-adapt legacy investors

October 2011: $1 million seed round, undisclosed valuation

WeWork's $1 million seed round in October 2011 was led by DAG Ventures and came with an undisclosed valuation.

July 2012: $17 million Series A, $97 million valuation

Less than a year after its seed round, WeWork raised its Series A in July 2012. The $17 million round, which valued the startup at $97 million, was led by an undisclosed group of investors.

May 2013: $40 million Series B, $440 million valuation

WeWork also did not publicly disclose investors for its $40 million Series B in May 2013. The round valued the burgeoning startup at $440 million post-money.

February 2014: $150 million Series C, $1.49 billion valuation

The coworking startup officially crossed into unicorn territory in February 2014 with its $150 million Series C. The round valued the company at $1.49 billion and included JP Morgan Chase, Harvard Management, Benchmark Capital, and Mort Zuckerman.

October 2014: $355 million Series D, $5 billion valuation

Within ten months of its Series C, WeWork raised another $355 million in Series D funding from T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management and Goldman Sachs, in addition to follow-on funding from the Series C investors. The round valued WeWork at $5 billion.

June 2015: $434 million Series E, $10.23 billion valuation

By June 2015, WeWork had already moved on to late-stage private funding with its $433.93 million Series E from Fidelity. The other investors in the round were not publicly disclosed, but the round valued the startup at $10.23 billion.

April 2016: Debt financing, valuation unchanged

WeWork pursued its first round of debt financing in April 2016 with Wells Fargo. The undisclosed amount of financing did not alter the startup's valuation from its most recent venture round in June 2015.

October 2016: $690 million Series F, $16.9 billion valuation

The debt financing in early 2016 bought WeWork time to finalize its $690 million Series F venture round by October 2016. The round valued the company at $16.9 billion and was led by Legend Holdings and Hony Capital. All existing public investors also participated in the round.

August 2017: Insider stock sales to SoftBank, valuation unchanged

An undisclosed group of investors sold $1.3 billion worth of WeWork shares to SoftBank's massive Vision Fund. The transaction did not alter WeWork's valuation.

August 2017: $1.7 billion Series G, $21.2 billion valuation

SoftBank also led WeWork's $1.7 billion Series G funding round that same month. The round valued the now 7-year-old startup at $21.2 billion, and brought on Catalyst Investors, Alpha JWC Ventures, Syren Capital Advisors, Primary Venture Partners and StraightPath Venture Partners as investors.

January 2019: $1 billion insider stock sales to SoftBank, $20 billion valuation

Softbank purchased another $1 billion worth of WeWork shares in January 2019 from undisclosed investors and WeWork employees. At an even $20 billion valuation, the round gave WeWork a lower post-money valuation but a higher pre-money valuation than the Series G funding round 18 months earlier.

January 2019: $5 billion direct investment from SoftBank, $47 billion valuation

SoftBank's purchase of insider shares was completed in connection with a $5 billion primary investment into WeWork that valued the company at $47 billion, more than double its previous valuation, according to Pitchbook. 

The round included $1 billion in convertible debt and a $3 billion warrant agreement, according to Pitchbook data.

May 2019: $110 million debt financing, valuation unchanged

WeWork got $110 million in debt financing from Citizens Bank and Pacific West Bank in May 2019. The financing did not change the startup's previous $47 billion valuation.

August 2019: WeWork files IPO paperwork

WeWork indicated in its S-1 filing that it planned to raise $1 billion in its IPO, though that number was likely a placeholder. The company did not provide details on the numbers of shares it wanted to sell or the price and valuation it was seeking.


September 2019: WeWork seeks reduced, $10 billion to $12 billion valuation for IPO

According to a Reuters report on Friday, WeWork is now seeking to IPO at a valuation of between $10 billion and $12 billion — knocking the company's valuation down to where it was in 2015. It is not clear if WeWork hopes to raise a lower amount during its public debut, or if SoftBank will make back the nearly $9 billion it publicly invested in the company.

Stocks close mixed as the Dow gains for the 8th day in a row

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 4:31pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Stocks finished mixed on Friday as the Dow Jones industrial average rose for the eighth day in a row. 
  • The S&P 500 index was relatively flat as gains in materials, financials, and energy stocks were offset by losses in real estate, utilities, and technology. 
  • Goldman Sachs hit Apple with the lowest price target of any major shop on Wall Street, issuing a warning that Apple TV Plus will into iPhone profits. Apple published a statement shortly after refuting the claim. 
  • Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.

Stocks finished mixed on Friday as the Dow Jones industrial average posted gains for the eighth straight day.

The S&P 500 index was down slightly as gains in materials, financials, and energy stocks were offset by losses in real estate, consumer staples, and technology.

Shares of Apple dropped about 2%, dragging technology stocks and the Nasdaq Composite lower. The shares fell after Goldman Sach slapped the company with the lowest price rating of any major firm on Wall Street, citing concerns Apple TV Plus might cut into iPhone profits. 

Positive sentiment around developments in the US-China trade war on Thursday appeared to carry gains in the Dow on Friday.

Both the US and China agreed to either delay or exempt some tariffs set to take effect in the coming months. The exchange was seen as an effort from both sides to ease tensions, which sparked hope a trade resolution could come in the coming weeks. 

Here's a look at the major indexes as of the 4 p.m. close on Friday: 

Shares of Cloudflare skyrocketed 20% after the company raised $525 million in the company's initial public offering. Cloudflare sold 35 million shares at $15 apiece, slightly higher than its advertised range of $12 to $14. 

Markets Insider is looking for a panel of millennial investors. If you're active in the markets, CLICK HERE to sign up.

WeWork announced it plans to list on the Nasdaq composite when it goes public sometime this year. The company also released new corporate governance measures to curb Chief Executive Officer Adam Neumann's power "in response to market feedback." 

Within the S&P 500, these were the largest gainers:

And the largest decliners:

The London Stock Exchange's board unanimously rejected the Hong Stock Exchange's bid on Friday saying its $27 billion purchase of data-provider Refinitiv is "on track." The HKEK announced a $37 billion bid for the London-based exchange earlier this week. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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WeWork's valuation is under fire. Here's everything we know about its IPO plans, finances, and concerns around CEO Adam Neumann.

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 4:25pm  |  Clusterstock

Here's what we know about what's going on inside WeWork right now:

The latest Financials and real estate Coworking rivals Road to IPO Neumann's leadership SoftBank's role Deals

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Most hurricanes that hit the US and Caribbean islands come from the same exact spot in the world

MoviePass is shutting down and looking for a buyer

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 4:08pm  |  Clusterstock

  • MoviePass, the embattled movie-ticket-subscription service, is shutting down on Saturday, its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, announced on Friday.
  • Helios and Matheson said its efforts to recapitalize the MoviePass business, which has lost hundreds of millions of dollars since Helios and Matheson took ownership in 2017, had "not been successful."
  • Helios and Matheson said it would explore a sale of MoviePass, along with its other assets Moviefone and MoviePass Films.
  • MoviePass has recently laid off staffers, and Moviefone has suspended its freelancers, sources close to the companies told Business Insider.
  • Read more: The definitive story of how a controversial Florida businessman blew up MoviePass and burned hundreds of millions

MoviePass will shut down on Saturday, its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, announced on Friday.

Helios and Matheson said efforts to recapitalize the embattled movie-ticket subscription service had "not been successful to date" and that it was "unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue."

MoviePass surged in popularity in 2017 after Helios and Matheson bought the service and drastically lowered the price. But it burned through hundreds of millions of dollars and failed to find a business model that didn't lead to massive losses.

During MoviePass' collapse, CEO Mitch Lowe locked some subscribers out of their accounts and used other tactics to try and keep the company running, according to multiple inside sources who Business Insider spoke with during a four-month investigation into the company's practices, which was published in August.

MoviePass, along with Moviefone and MoviePass Films, which are all owned by Helios and Matheson, will be up for sale, the company said on Friday.

Helios and Matheson's "board of directors has formed a strategic review committee, composed entirely of the company's independent directors, to identify, review, and explore all strategic and financial alternatives for the company, including a sale of the company in its entirety," the company said.

This announcement came as Business Insider waited for comment from Helios and Matheson on a story that detailed the company's attempts to sell MoviePass and Moviefone and its continued layoffs.

The Friday before the Labor Day holiday weekend, the Moviefone editor Drew Taylor sent out an email to the site's freelancers informing them that "effective immediately all freelancing is suspended." The email, obtained by Business Insider, went on to say that Moviefone would make sure "everybody gets paid what they're owed as soon as possible," but multiple sources said some freelancers had not been paid for months.

To read Business Insider's inside look at what's been going on recently at MoviePass and Moviefone, read our full story on Business Insider Prime.

SEE ALSO: The definitive story of how a controversial Florida businessman blew up MoviePass and burned hundreds of millions

Join the conversation about this story »

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SoftBank reportedly plans to boost its stake in WeWork by $750 million in the coworking giant's IPO

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 3:55pm  |  Clusterstock

  • SoftBank plans to buy $750 million in WeWork shares in the real-estate company's planned public offering, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The purchase would represent about 25% of the shares WeWork is planning on selling.
  • The move would up SoftBank's investment in the company to more than $11 billion, assuming it doesn't sell any shares in the offering.
  • The news comes as WeWork is considering going public with a valuation of as little as $10 billion.
  • Read all of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.

SoftBank plans to up its stake in WeWork in the latter's planned initial public offering, even as the money-losing commercial real-estate giant is struggling to attract other investors, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The Japanese conglomerate, which oversees the $100 billion Vision Fund, plans to buy at least $750 million worth of WeWork shares in its IPO, The Journal reported. That would represent around a quarter of all the shares the coworking company plans to sell in the offering, in which it is expected to raise at least $3 billion.

With the move, SoftBank would increase its total investment in WeWork by about 7%, assuming it doesn't sell any shares in the offering, pushing it to beyond $11 billion. To date, the conglomerate has invested $10.65 billion in WeWork and its subsidiaries, according to WeWork's public offering document.

SoftBank representatives did not return a call seeking comment. WeWork representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Read this: WeWork and Uber are giving SoftBank a black eye, but that doesn't mean Vision Fund II is in trouble, experts say

Earlier Friday, WeWork announced in updated offering filings that it is revamping its corporate governance, cutting in half the number of votes CEO Adam Neumann will get for his shares from 20 each to 10 each, and committing to having a board in which the majority of directors are independent.

Also, the company is now considering going public with a market capitalization of as little as $10 billion. In January, SoftBank privately valued WeWork at $47 billion, when it made a follow-on investment in the company. Earlier this week, the company was talking about a potential market capitalization at IPO of $15 billion to $20 billion.

The company has reportedly faced pushback from the public investors it is trying to woo, thanks to concerns about its governance, valuation, business model, and potential vulnerability in a recession.

Softbank has reportedly encouraged WeWork to not go forward with its IPO.

Got a tip about SoftBank or WeWork? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Why WeWork's $47 billion private valuation could be a key stumbling block for its IPO — and might even derail it completely

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 lesser-known benefits of Amazon Prime

MoviePass' parent company is looking to sell it and Moviefone as it continues to cut staff

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 3:50pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Helios and Matheson Analytics is looking to sell MoviePass and Moviefone, multiple sources close to the company told Business Insider.
  • Layoffs have continued at MoviePass, and contract workers at Moviefone have been suspended, sources said.
  • The Moviefone editor Drew Taylor wrote "effective immediately all freelancing is suspended" in a recent email obtained by Business Insider.
  • Some freelance writers for Moviefone had not been paid in months, sources said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Helios and Matheson Analytics is looking to sell its two key properties, the movie-ticket-subscription app MoviePass and the movie-ticket site Moviefone, multiple sources close to the company told Business Insider.

And in the meantime, the company has been cleaning house. Layoffs have been happening for weeks, the sources said.

Some MoviePass staffers gave their two-week notice this week, and multiple people were laid off and given no severance package, one source said. Business Insider reported last month that MoviePass had laid off about one-third of its staff, including its two-person exhibitor-relations team, which was responsible for building relationships between MoviePass and movie theaters.

MoviePass also laid off the staffer in charge of its social media in June, multiple sources said. The last posts on the company's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages were on June 30.

CULTIVATED: DCM Ventures makes a bet on cannabis drinks, Wall Street's leading cannabis analyst on her top 3 US picks, and more

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 3:24pm  |  Clusterstock

Introducing Cultivated, our new weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom. Sign up here.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone (spooky):

As with last week, the cannabis sector was dominated by the unfortunate news of vaping-related illnesses. As a refresher, I put together a timeline of what state and federal officials knew about the illnesses and when. You can read that here, and we'll keep updating it as we learn more.

But there was some other news apart from the vape scare that I'd like to highlight. First, Aurora Cannabis, one of the largest cannabis companies, reported earnings. While the company didn't have a bad quarter revenue-wise, it missed on its guidance by around 1% and the stock was hammered as a result.

I spoke with Aurora Chief Corporate Officer Cam Battley yesterday by phone. He said a few interesting things. One, he felt like the market has a "follow-the-leader" approach where, after companies like Canopy Growth and Cronos Group did deals with large alcohol and tobacco companies, investors expected Aurora to do the same.

"There's pressure there," said Battley. "We don't want to give up control and enter partnerships that don't work for us."

Second, Battley reiterated that Aurora is actively looking at US CBD acquisitions, which we have reported on in the past. He also said that Aurora is looking closely at the landmark Canopy Growth-Acreage deal, and may consider pursuing a similar acquisition under that framework. We previously reported that the deal's unique (if vague) structure would provide a pathway for other Canadian cannabis companies to do the same. 

On the policy front, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told the Democratic caucus that a bill to protect banks that serve cannabis companies will get a full House floor vote by the end of the month. The news follows Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo's statement to Politico that his committee will hold a vote on similar legislation.

In other news, I sat down with Bradley Tusk, the CEO of Tusk Ventures and author of "The Fixer" in his Manhattan offices on Wednesday to tape an episode of The Firewall podcast. We had a wide-ranging discussion that went from cannabis tech startups to psychedelic drugs, and Mexico's incipient cannabis legalization — all in a snackable 20 minutes. The episode will drop on Wednesday, and you can listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.

And last, here's a tidbit I thought you all might like. I spoke with Marc Hauser, who leads the law firm Reed Smith LLP's cannabis practice earlier today.

He had a great quote around the regulatory complexity of cannabis and the challenges of putting together deals. "It's both legal and highly regulated at the state level, and highly illegal at the federal level," Hauser told me. "It's like a quantum physics problem."


More stories from around the BI newsroom:

Here's the pitch deck that cannabis-beverage startup K-Zen used to raise $5 million from seasoned Silicon Valley VC firm DCM Ventures

The cannabis-infused-beverage startup K-Zen raised $5 million from the venerable Silicon Valley venture firm DCM Ventures in May.

K-Zen co-CEO Judy Yee told Business Insider that the startup tailored its fundraising approach to investors who would be willing to invest in cannabis, as most mainstream venture funds are still reticent about the space.

Yee walked me through K-Zen's pitch deck and talked about the genesis of K-Zen in a recent interview. 

Here are the 3 top pot stocks to bet on in the US and one to avoid, according to Wall Street's leading cannabis analyst

Wall Street's star cannabis-industry analyst Vivien Azer initiated coverage on some of the splashiest US cannabis names — known as multistate operators or MSOs in industry parlance — including CuraleafGreen Thumb IndustriesCresco LabsAcreage Holdings, and MedMen.

Azer's top US cannabis pick: Green Thumb Industries. She also likes Curaleaf and Cresco Labs, particularly as these companies balance wholesale and retail revenues.

She put a harsh price target on MedMen — $1.50. While she said the brand has strong equity in the lucrative California market, the company's constant need for cash and rampant spending will hurt it in the longterm. 

Top investors from a cannabis-focused fund and early Juul investor share their 3 best tips for making a successful pitch

Brother-and-sister-duo Morgan and Emily Paxhia know what turns a pitch into funding for a startup.

As the managing partners of Poseidon Asset Management, a cannabis-focused investment firm, the pair have seen — and sat through — tons of pitches of varying quality. The two shared their best pieces of advice for startup founders looking to make a successful pitch in a recent webinar moderated by Business Insider.

Check out their three best tips here

Capital raises, M&A activity, partnerships, and launches Executive moves
  • Canopy Rivers, the VC arm of Canopy Growth, formed a new strategic advisory board. The board includes John Ruffolo, formerly the founder of OMERS Ventures, Meg Lovell, formerly M&A head at Imperial Brands PLC, and Philip Donne, formerly the CEO of Kellogg Canada.
  • Brad Kotansky, a former banker and entrepreneur, joins 4Front as CFO.
  • 48North Cannabis names Alison Gordon as the sole CEO. The company accepted the resignation of Gordon's co-chief executive, Jeannette VanderMarel this week. VanderMarel will stay on as board director.
  • Green Flower Media adds Gil Christie as EVP of Enterprise Solutions & Investor Education. Christie previously founded Fitch Learning. 
  • California cannabis chain Caliva adds Jeffry Allen to its board. The company also adds Joseph Sequenzia as chief marketing officer, Leann Taylor as chief strategy officer, and Drew Kornreich as chief M&A officer.  
Chart of the week

Here's a list of the cannabis companies that are hiring the most this year, from the job recruiting site Indeed. As a reminder, we published a recruiter's guide to landing a job in the cannabis industry last week:

Stories from around the web

Did I miss anything? Have a tip? Just want to chat? Send me a note at or find me on twitter @jfberke

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Look inside the 3D-printed Mars home that NASA awarded $500,000

WeWork just removed cofounder Rebekah Paltrow Neumann from succession planning and banned her from the board. Meet the former actress, who is CEO Adam Neumann's 'strategic thought partner'

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 3:10pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Rebekah Paltrow Neumann cofounded WeWork in 2010 alongside her husband, Adam Neumann, and Miguel McKelvey.
  • Investor pushback has led WeWork to strip back her influence over the company, including removing her from succession planning in the event of the death of her husband, CEO Adam Neumann, and banning her and members of the Neumann family from serving on the board, a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission September 13 shows.
  • Paltrow Neumann is the CEO of WeGrow, a private primary school run by the coworking-space company, according to the school's website.
  • The couple has a net worth of at least $4.1 billion, according to Forbes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Rebekah Paltrow Neumann once wanted to be an actress, she told Fast Company. Later, she became a certified yoga instructor.

She went on to become the chief brand and impact officer of The We Company, which filed to go public in August. However, investor pushback has led WeWork to strip back her influence over the company, including removing her from succession planning in the event of the death of her husband, CEO Adam Neumann, and banning her and members of her family from serving on the board, a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission September 13 shows.

Paltrow Neumann cofounded the company — originally known by its most famous business, WeWork — alongside her husband, Adam Neumann, and Miguel McKelvey in 2010. She was also an early employee at the first coworking company Adam Neumann and McKelvey founded, Greendesk, according to Fast Company.

Read more: Before he was a billionaire, WeWork CEO Adam Neumann was broke. Here's the NYC building where he and his wife lived in a tiny apartment before he built a $47 billion company

Ahead of The We Company's initial public offering, Paltrow Neumann has turned her attention to WeGrow, the private primary school run by the company.

Neumann declined to comment through a WeWork representative.

Keep reading for a look at the life of Rebekah Paltrow Neumann.

SEE ALSO: WeWork is about to publicly file its IPO paperwork — here’s how its CEO, Adam Neumann, spends his billions

DON'T MISS: Barney's just declared bankruptcy. Meet the company's billionaire chairman, who was once considered one of Wall Street's most promising investors and owns at least 3 homes across the US.

MORE ANALYSIS: These are the drastic leadership challenges CEOs like WeWork's Adam Neumann can expect after taking their companies public

Rebekah Paltrow Neumann is described in The We Company's S-1 filing as one of the cofounders and CEO Adam Neumann's "strategic thought partner."

"Rebekah has been a strategic thought partner to Adam since our founding and has actively shaped the mission and strategy of The We Company and its global impact agenda, as well as being the primary voice and leading advocate for the We brand," the filing says.

"Rebekah has never been paid a salary from us," it says.

Paltrow Neumann, 41, is a graduate of Cornell University.

She's a native of Bedford, New York, according to New York magazine.

She majored in business and earned a minor in Buddhism, according to her profile on WeGrow's website.

Paltrow Neumann worked as a trader at the investment bank Salomon Smith Barney before coming to WeWork, Fast Company reported.

She has also dabbled in acting, appearing in several films.

Paltrow Neumann has long had spiritual pursuits — she reportedly once attended the Dalai Lama's birthday party.

Paltrow Neumann has a certification in Jivamukti yoga and has traveled around the world to practice yoga, her profile on WeGrow's website says.

She even once attended a birthday party for the Dalai Lama, according to Fast Company.

Paltrow Neumann is married to the WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann, but they don't try to separate work from their relationship.

"We don't have a line at all between work and life," Paltrow Neumann told Fast Company. "It's not even a blurred line. There is no line."

The couple met in 2009, Business Insider previously reported.

"And he walked in, and I saw that he was my soul mate," she told Fast Company about their first meeting. "It's the truth."

Paltrow Neumann also tries to incorporate the couple's five children in their workplace.

Making her kids feel welcome at WeWork helps Paltrow Neumann balance her career and motherhood, she told Coveteur.

"Kids shouldn't feel like work is something they're not allowed to peek into," she said. "So, for me, the biggest challenge was being able to bring those two worlds together."

Paltrow Neumann also keeps a basket of toys for her kids in her office, according to Coveteur.

Paltrow Neumann has made some controversial comments about her relationship with her husband.

"A big part of being a woman is to help men [like Adam] manifest their calling in life," Paltrow Neumann said at WeWork Summer Camp in 2018, according to Property Week.

WeWork faced backlash on Twitter for Paltrow Neumann's statements, but it declined to comment to CNBC, though it provided more of her remarks from the event for context.

"The reality that I see today is that there is nothing bigger that women can do, in my opinion, than empower their partners," Paltrow Neumann said, WeWork told CNBC, "and that can be a man, a woman, a friend, it doesn't matter, but empower others."

Paltrow Neumann helped her husband quit smoking and drinking soda, tossing his soda and cigarettes down the trash chute of her apartment, they told Fast Company.

After the pair was married, they shared a tiny studio apartment in the East Village.

Adam Neumann discussed his life in the building in an interview with Business Insider's Alyson Shontell and Rich Feloni in May.

A studio apartment in the East Village building was most recently listed for $3,098 a month, and the median monthly rent in the neighborhood was $3,150.

The Neumanns' family office, 166 2nd Financial Services, is named after the building's address, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Read more: Before he was a billionaire, WeWork CEO Adam Neumann was broke. Here's the NYC building where he and his wife lived in a tiny apartment before he built a $47 billion company

The couple now owns several homes in New York.

The Neumanns own a six-bedroom townhouse in New York City's Greenwich Village that has a dedicated "stroller parking garage," according to New York magazine.

They also reportedly own a 60-acre estate in New York's Westchester County. It has a farm where Paltrow Neumann has brought students from WeGrow, according to Fast Company.

The couple's Hamptons home was purchased for $1.7 million, according to New York magazine.

The Neumanns spend most of their time in New York, but in 2018 they purchased a $21 million house in San Francisco that features a room shaped like a guitar.

They also own some of the commercial properties that house WeWork locations, bringing the estimated value of their entire real-estate portfolio to more than $80 million, per The Wall Street Journal.

Read more: WeWork CEO Adam Neumann dropped $21 million on a San Francisco house with a guitar-shaped room in 2018, and that's just part of his sprawling real-estate portfolio

Paltrow Neumann is responsible for WeWork's focus on wellness, according to Fast Company.

"Rebekah said, 'Stop. No more talking about money,' " Adam Neumann told Fast Company in 2016. "We're going to talk about wellness, happiness, fulfillment, and if the money is supposed to follow, it will. And if it doesn't, it doesn't matter, because we will be happy and fulfilled."

The We Company represents one of the most anticipated IPOs of the year, Business Insider reported. The company encompasses the co-living development WeLive, Paltrow Neumann's WeGrow, the gym Rise by We, and the original WeWork coworking business.

In January, the company was privately valued at $47 billion. As of September 13, however, reports indicate WeWork may be seeking a valuation between $10 and $12 billion in its IPO.

The business of wellness runs in Paltrow Neumann's family: She is related to the actress and wellness icon Gwyneth Paltrow.

Gwyneth Paltrow is Paltrow Neumann's cousin, Business Insider previously reported.

The two once even sat down for an interview for Paltrow's lifestyle blog, Goop, to discuss WeGrow.

Paltrow Neumann is now the CEO of WeGrow, a primary school run by WeWork.

She got the idea to add a school to the WeWork network of businesses after being unable to find a school liked her own daughter, she told Goop.

"We had a clear vision of the type of school we wanted her to attend — a place that would not only nurture growth in her mind but also her spirit, a place that had a real culture of kindness, where she would have a real connection to nature, and where her individual gifts, talents, and passions would be recognized and supported," she said.

"Ultimately, we could not find such a place, so we decided to start WeGrow."

Read more: WeWork is just one of the businesses owned by a $47 billion company that could reveal its IPO paperwork any day now — check out the full list

In The We Company's S-1 filing, the Neumanns pledged to give $1 billion to charitable causes.

The S-1 says the first contribution of that sort would be for "the conservation of over 20 million acres of intact tropical forest," the same featured on the final page of the document, pictured here.

WeWork slashed Paltrow Neumann's influence over the company in response to concern from potential investors.

Paltrow Neumann will no longer be involved in succession planning in the event of Adam's death as originally planned, the We Company said in a September 13 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All members of Adam Neumann's family, including Paltrow Neumann, were also forbidden from serving on WeWork's board. The decisions were made in "in response to market feedback," according to the filing.

The company also reduced Adam Neumann's voting power from 20 times that of an average shareholder to 10 times that of an average shareholder, the filing shows.

WeWork declined to comment to Business Insider on Paltrow Neumann's role in WeWork's succession plan.

Latest fintech industry trends, technologies and research from our ecosystem report

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 3:02pm  |  Clusterstock

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence,  Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

In recent years, we've seen a ballooning of activity in fintech — an expansive term applied to technology-driven disruptions in financial services. And 2018 has been no different, with fintechs' staggering influence on the market evidenced by record funding levels for the industry — by Q3 2018, overall funding was already up 82% from 2017’s total figure, according to CB Insights.

Additionally, this year marked a watershed moment for the industry, with the once clear distinction between fintechs and financial services proper now blurred significantly. Virtually every incumbent financial institution (FI) is now looking inward and engaging in an innovation drive, spurred on by competition from fintechs. As such, incumbents are now actively investing in, acquiring, and collaborating with their fintech rivals.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence details recent developments in fintech funding and regulation that are defining the environment these startups operate in. We also examine the business model changes being employed among different categories of fintechs as they strive to embed themselves further in mainstream finance and prove sustainability. Finally, we consider which elements of the fintech industry are rapidly rubbing off on incumbent financial services providers, and what the future of fintech will look like.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Funding Circle, GreenSky, Transferwise, Ant Financial, Nubank, Cellulant, Oscar Health, Stripe, One97, UiPath, LianLian Pay,, Gusto, Toast, PingPong, Flywire, Deposit Solutions, Root, Robinhood, Atom, N26, Revolut, OneConnect, PolicyBazaar, WeCash, Zurich, OneDegree, Dinghy, Vouch Insurance, Laka, Cleo, Ernit, Monzo, Moneybox, Bud, Tandem, Starling, Varo Money, Square, ING, Chase, AmEx, Amazon, Monese, Betterment, Tiller Investments, West Hill Capital, Square, Ameritrade, JPMorgan, eToro, Lendy, OnDeck, Ripple, Quorom, Chain, Coinbase, Fidelity, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Bank of America, TransferGo, Klarna, Western Union, Veriff, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada, Facebook, ThreatMetrix, Relx, Entersekt, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Gemalto, Lloyd's of London, Kingdom Trust, Aviva, Symbility LINK, eTrade, Allianz, AXA, Broadridge, TD Bank, First Republic Bank, BBVA Compass, Capital One, Silicon Valley Bank, Credit Suisse, Ally, Goldman Sachs.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Fintech funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.
  • Some new regions, including South America and Africa, are emerging on the fintech scene.
  • We've seen considerable scaling in older corners of the fintech ecosystem, including among neobanks and alt lenders.
  • Some fintechs, including a number of insurtechs, have dipped into new markets to escape heightened competition.
  • Emergent areas like blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), as well as digital identity, are gaining traction.
  • Many incumbents are undertaking business transformations that aim to reimagine everything from products and services to front-end systems and back-end processes.

 In full, the report:

  • Details the funding and regulatory landscape in the US, Europe, and Asia.
  • Gives an overview into a number of fintech segments and how they've changed over the past year.
  • Discusses how incumbents are reacting to fintechs in order to stay relevant in the changing financial services sector.
  • Evaluates what the future of fintech will look like and what trends to look out for in the coming year.
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SEE ALSO: How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most

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An analyst that loves Beyond Meat's business still thinks the stock is wildly overpriced — and he's urging traders to sell (BYND)

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 2:52pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Brian Holland, the latest analyst to initiate coverage of Beyond Meat, likes the company but thinks it's overvalued at currently. He's only the second analyst to recommend selling the stock. 
  • He thinks Beyond is overshooting its forecasts for how much market share it can capture from traditional meat. 
  • Still, he likes the potential in plant-based meat and says Beyond Meat has a distinct first mover advantage. 
  • Watch Beyond Meat trade live on Markets Insider.

The latest Wall Street analyst to weigh in on Beyond Meat thinks highly of the company and plant-based meat, but still thinks that at the current price it's a good time to sell. 

Holland initiated coverage in September with an underweight rating a price target of $130, a 15% discount from where Beyond currently trades. Holland says he believes in plant-based meat, just not Beyond's more than $9 billion valuation.

His price target is based off a five-year sales outlook plus a 50% premium to growth staples because of the long runway for plant-based meat. 

"I think it's going to be a tremendous category is going to be one of the fastest growing categories in food," Brian Holland, a senior analyst at D.A. Davidson, told Markets Insider in an interview. "But I think there are limiting factors" to Beyond Meat's growth, he said. 

Wall Street has been very hesitant on Beyond Meat during the short time its traded publicly — the company IPOed in May. Of the 10 analysts that cover the shares, seven have neutral ratings on the company. Only one analyst — Ken Goldman of JPMorgan— has a buy rating on shares. When Holland initiated coverage, he became the second "sell" rating. 

In a recent investor presentation, Beyond Meat spelled out plans to capture 13% of the US market share of traditional meat, about $35 billion of the $270 billion industry in the US. The company arrived at this number by calculating how much of the dairy milk market has been captured by plant-based milk.  

Read more: These are Beyond Meat's 13 highest-profile partnerships in the food industry

But Holland is skeptical that Beyond can woo enough repeat consumers to grow that much. 

"At the end of the day when you sell a food product, you only have the attention span of the consumer for as long as they have your package in their refrigerator or eating your sandwich at a restaurant," Holland said.

After that, its can be difficult to keep consumers engaged. He argues that plant-based milk has been able to do this because there's a solid share of lactose intolerant people in the US, a need for an alternative that Beyond doesn't have. 

There's also healthy competition in the plant-based meat space, and because of that Beyond's valuation "demands higher barriers to entry than do exist here," he said. A number of other companies have recently gotten in the plant-based meat game, including larger food companies such as Tyson Foods, Hormel Foods, and Kellogg.

That said, Holland thinks Beyond Meat has a distinct first-mover advantage in plant-based meat. A majority of the plant-based milk category is controlled by two top players, Holland said, who were early movers — Danone, which owns Silk, and Blue Diamond, which owns Almond Breeze.

Going forward, Holland said that he's open to reevaluating his rating. "I don't think any stock is permanently a buy or sell," he said. If the numbers were revised higher, "we would look at what the math said," Holland said.

He also acknowledged that a deal with McDonald's would change things for Beyond — analysts have said it could boost the stock price as much as 30% and would represent a huge win for the company, which has a lot of partnerships with restaurants.

Beyond Meat's shares are up 516% year to date. 

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Jeffrey Epstein reportedly used a murky nonprofit account with Deutsche Bank to reap tax benefits

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 2:28pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Jeffrey Epstein's Gratitude America foundation reported a number of charitable donations since its founding in 2012, but several listed recipients never received the funds, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The discrepancy places a greater focus on Deutsche Bank's activities, as it handled Gratitude America's finances. The foundation reported more than $1.8 million in charitable contributions between 2016 and 2017.
  • Banks often watch wealthy clients and their foundations with increased scrutiny, as falsified charitable donations can yield massive tax benefits.
  • Epstein had long been a Deutsche Bank client, and had access to its exclusive Key Client Partners group, according to the WSJ.
  • Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.

Jeffrey Epstein established his Gratitude America foundation in 2012, and a Wall Street Journal report on Thursday detailed how the nonprofit was possibly used to generate tax benefits through suspicious donations.

Gratitude America reportedly made more than $1.8 million in charitable contributions between 2016 and 2017, yet several listed recipients said they never received the funds. The foundation banked with Deutsche Bank, where Epstein had been a customer in its exclusive Key Client Partners group.

Banks tend to monitor wealthy customers' charities with greater scrutiny, as charitable donations can lend massive tax breaks.

The foundation's purpose was to "support the expression of gratitude for the ideals of America," according to its incorporation records. The disgraced financier was listed as the nonprofit's president in its foundation and for several years after, WSJ reported.

Epstein reportedly tried to use the foundation to make a charitable donation to a nonprofit in the US Virgin Islands, where he owns two islands. The payment was made in hopes of resolving a fine from the islands' government, according to the WSJ, citing people familiar with the matter.

Instead of paying the fine, Gratitude America and another Epstein foundation each wrote $160,000 checks out to the St. Thomas Historical Trust, a non-profit based in the islands. Representatives of the St. Thomas Historical Trust told WSJ they never received the checks.

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The Gratitude America check came from a Deutsche Bank account, and both checks were signed by one of Epstein's lawyers. The attorney also served on the foundation's board, and eventually signed a check from the other Epstein foundation to pay the government's fine.

"The representatives of Mr. Epstein would have liked the settlements to include the payments as charitable donations," Virgin Islands planning department spokesman, Jamal Nielsen, told the WSJ. "However, the department rejected the offer. The settlement had to be paid to the department."

Gratitude America listed several other organizations as recipients of charitable donations, but many of them said they never received money from the nonprofit. The foundation's 2017 tax return lists a $15,000 donation to an Elton John charity with the same address as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, yet the charity said it has no record of a contribution from Gratitude America or Epstein.

Epstein's nonprofit also said it made a $75,000 donation to the Cancer Research Wellness Institute in California. Yet a representative with the institute said it never received the money, the WSJ found.

Gratitude America listed 27 charitable donations across its 2016 and 2017 tax returns, WSJ reported. Some listed recipients, such as the Icahn School of Medicine, noted they received contributions from Epstein himself, and not Gratitude America.

Gratitude America was cut off from the bank's services in recent months, according to the WSJ, citing sources familiar with the subject.

Epstein committed suicide in his Manhattan jail cell August 10 while facing charges for federal sex-trafficking. Since then, the investor's finances and relationship with Deutsche Bank have fallen under the purview of an ongoing federal investigation. 

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Goldman Sachs slaps Apple with the lowest price target of any major research firm as analysts predict TV+ will eat iPhone profits

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is planning to release a digital token for others to invest in his contract

Goldman Sachs is offering buyouts to encourage partners to leave as CEO David Solomon works to shrink one of the most elite clubs on Wall Street

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The electricity provider that caused the California wildfires has reached an $11 billion settlement

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 2:16pm  |  Clusterstock

  • PG&E has reached an agreement to pay $11 billion to settle insurance claims over its role in the California wildfires. 
  • The utility company's power lines were blamed for wildfires that ravaged Northern California in 2017 and 2018 and resulted in more than 100 deaths. 
  • Mounting legal claims over the last two years forced PG&E to filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. 
  • Shares of PG&E rose as much as 10% on the news.

PG&E has reached another major settlement regarding its role in the deadly California wildfires. 

The utility company has agreed to pay $11 billion to settle insurance claims after its power lines were blamed for starting many of the wildfires that ravaged Northern California in 2017 and 2018. Shares of PG&E rose as much as 10% on the news. 

"Today's settlement is another step in doing what's right for the communities, businesses, and individuals affected by the devastating wildfires," Bill Johnson, PG&E's chief executive officer, said in a statement on Friday

Earlier this week the company released a major reorganization plan that allocated $17.9 billion to settle wildfire-related claims. The plan included $8.4 billion for wildfire victims, $8.5 billion to reimburse insurers, and $1 billion for local governments.  

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The settlement announced on Thursday is with about 85% of the insurance companies seeking payouts from PG&E, and the $11 billion total exceeds the $8.4 billion cap the company proposed in its restructuring plan. 

The announcement represents a critical milestone for PG&E as mounting legal claims stemming from the wildfires forced the company to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year. The new settlement still has to be approved by the bankruptcy court. 

PG&E also paid out a $1 billion settlement in June with 18 towns and local governments regarding fires in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

PG&E's stock price has fallen more than 54% year-to-date. 

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NOW WATCH: How Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

On #GMO 's Let Africa speak for herself! - Patricia Nanteza form #Uganda

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 1:19pm  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
From the Cornell Alliance for Science:
Alliance for Science Global Leadership Fellow Patricia Nanteza of Uganda tells how US/European anti-GMO scaremongering impacts people around the world.

Evolving Informal Savings Circles - Minneapolis' Somali-American Community Can Soon Bypass the Bank to Buy Homes with a new entity - Star Finance

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 9:11am  |  Timbuktu Chronicles
Emily Nonko reports:
...The work introduced Sheik-Abdi to the power of community funding, and he looked for other ways to apply it within Minneapolis. Since the first immigration wave of Somali-Americans in the 1990s, many had moved into the middle class. But Sheik-Abdi kept hearing about a roadblock: they couldn’t afford to buy a house in the city that had become their second home.

So again Sheik-Abdi mobilized his community to explore the potential of collective wealth. The result is Star Finance, a culturally appropriate, non-predatory mortgage option designed specifically for Somali immigrants and without the need of a bank...[more]

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